The first class in the afternoon was language and literature. Lu Qi’an flipped open his textbook and was greeted by the sight of bread crumbs firmly stuck on the pages.
They were densely packed together, making it look utterly disgusting.
He shut the book and placed it at the top edge of the table, refusing to touch it anymore.
When Li Qinhe, who was sitting beside Lu Qi’an, saw that he wasn’t using his textbook, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
Lu Qi’an replied, “Someone’s idea of a practical joke.”
Li Qinhe made an ‘O’ shape with his mouth and went on to probe, “Nobody dares to provoke you! Someone at this school actually have the guts to mess with you?”
Lu Qi’an fell silent, completely ignoring Li Qinhe’s existence.
Li Qinhe knew he was mad. They’d grown up together, so he knew about Lu Qi’an’s fastidious personality better more than anyone else. In all of No. 6 High, no other male student was as neat and tidy as Lu Qi’an. The most obvious evidence of this was that none of the pages in Lu Qi’an’s textbooks were creased. Not even one!
“How are you gonna listen in class?”
Lu Qi’an did not reply him.
Li Qinhe let out a sigh.
Before the teacher even left the classroom, Lu Qi’an picked up all his textbooks and threw them directly into the trash bin. The dozen or so textbooks hit the bottom of the bin with a loud ‘bang!’ and it made the entire class fall silent.
Li Qinhe approached him and asked, “Was it really necessary to dump all of them?”
Lu Qi’an shot him an icy glare. “I’m going to buy a new set from the Academic Affairs Office. Don’t follow me.”
Li Qinhe surrendered his hands in mid-air. He didn’t have the capability to calm him down. Since young, Lu Qi’an had yet to meet anyone who could soothe his temper, so he’d get enraged easily when provoked. Other people could only let him be and give him time to recover on his own.
By the time he returned to class with the new books, class had already begun. The teacher was speechless when he caught sight of Lu Qi’an carrying a mountain of books with him, only remembering to allow him to come in to take his seat after a brief moment.
Lu Qi’an sat in his seat and went to dig out a pen from his bag without looking down. Based on his memories, he tried to feel for the pen. Instead, the back of his hand was cut by a sharp object which shouldn’t have even been in the bag in the first place.
He pulled out his hand to examine it. The skin broke, but luckily there was no blood.
After rummaging through his bag, Lu Qi’an finally found the culprit. A note was stapled into his bag. Afraid that it wouldn’t stay in place, the perpetrator even stapled it an extra four to five times. A couple of them weren’t stapled on properly so the sharp ends were pointing upwards, cutting him as a result.
Something was scribbled on the note, ’Are you angry? If you are, come look for me at the second streetlamp near the school gate at 9:30 p.m.’
Lu Qi’an threw his bag to the side.
What ugly handwriting.
The moment class was over, under the shocked gazes of all his classmates, he threw the entire bag into the bin.
At 8 o’clock in the evening, Fu Jia skipped his lesson and rushed to No. 6 High.
He hummed an unknown tune, feeling extremely content throughout the entire journey. He hadn’t had dinner yet, but he was in such a good mood that it didn’t matter if he’d eaten or not. He felt that he would feel even more happy once it was all over and have supper after.
He was leaning against the second streetlamp located outside No. 6 High, yet he was donning a No.16 High uniform.
The security guard appeared and gave him a few stares. Upon seeing that he was just standing there without doing anything, he didn’t go forth to interrogate him.
Soon, all classes were dismissed.
Among the large crowd of black and white uniforms, the crimson-colored uniforms of No. 16 High stood out exceptionally amongst the crowd. All kinds of eyes fell on Fu Jia as they walked past him, but he didn’t mind it in the slightest bit, thinking of himself as air.
The number of students who came out five minutes earlier was greater than the number that came out later after school. Fu Jia had his attention fixated on the school gate, unwilling to miss any figure that walked by.
After a good few more minutes passed by, Lu Qi’an finally showed up.
He looked somehow different yet similar than the one etched in Fu Jia’s memories. Every time Fu Jia saw him, he would always visit the Lin family’s villa as Lin Fengxun’s brother, his entire being exuding a mature and staid vibe that shouldn’t exist on a young man at this age. But now he was wearing his school uniform, and that lightened his entire presence a little. Yet, as expected, beneath the surface, there still seemed to be a certain…
…heaviness to his presence.
Taking in a deep breath, Fu Jia watched as he walked closer towards him.
One step, two steps…
As Fu Jia counted the steps, he realized that his heartbeat was actually beginning to follow the pace of his gait.
Five, six… When Lu Qi’an reached Fu Jia’s side, his footsteps showed no signs of stopping and continued walking forward.
Stunned momentarily, Fu Jia turned around and realized that he had already walked past the third streetlamp.
Fu Jia wanted to laugh.
He felt as though a heavy blow had landed on his heart. It felt so sore that he instantly perspired.
Where did he get the confidence that he would be able to seize Lu Qi’an’s attention by disgusting him? Not once in Lu Qi’an’s life would he fly into a terrible rage because of hating something. He would only ignore it and move on.
Fu Jia broke into a run to catch up to him.
“Lu Qi’an!” He shouted.
However, Lu Qi’an’s walking pace didn’t slow down at all.
Fu Jia hastened his pace and gave chase for a few more steps. With one grip, he pulled Lu Qi’an’s uniform. “Are you blind? Didn’t you see me?”
Stopping in his tracks, Lu Qi’an turned around, his gaze landing on Fu Jia’s hand. “Let go.”
Fu Jia argued back, “Are you blind?”
Lu Qi’an’s voice sounded apathetic as he replied, “I saw you. What’s your point?”
Fu Jia smiled in exasperation. The words that came out of his mouth didn’t even hit him as he shouted, “Is this how your aunt taught you to be polite to others?”
Lu Qi’an frowned.
The grin on Fu Jia’s face grew wider as he continued, “I was never taught any manners anyway. Sorry about that.”
Lu Qi’an reached his arm out to grab a hold of Fu Jia’s wrist before he pulled his hand away. Naturally, Fu Jia wasn’t willing to let go without putting up a fight, but Lu Qi’an’s grip was too strong. There was no way he’d be able to struggle against it.
His wrist was in so much pain that it almost felt it was going to be dislocated. Before Fu Jia himself could cry out in pain, he loosened his grip and let go, pretending as if it didn’t matter at all.
“Do you have to be so rough?” Fu Jia pretended to be at ease. “I just wanted to…yeah, get to know you. You know, for a person like me to be able to even exchange a few words with you, I could only resort to extreme measures.”
“You can wait at the school gate like the stalker you’re. You didn’t have to do things to that extent.”
What he said was brilliant.
“Ah…” Fu Jia nodded. “You’re right. Then, I’ll come and wait for you here next time. Is that okay with you?”
Lu Qi’an just stared at him without saying a word.
Fu Jia felt his heart drop, and he was suddenly at a loss for words.
Why didn’t he scold him, hit him, or turn his back on him? Why was he staring at him as though he was worth nothing?
Ever since Fu Jia saw Lu Qi’an for the first time, he couldn’t figure out the answers to the questions.
“If you really want to get to know me, don’t resort to such senseless and stupid tactics.” Lu Qi’an said, “You should go back now to study, take evening classes, and get transferred from No. 16 High to No. 6 High. Then you can get to know me as my new schoolmate.”
Lu Qi’an turned around to leave. “Don’t come and find me again from now on. I’ll be asking the driver to pick me up inside the school.”
Speechless, Fu Jia looked on helplessly as Lu Qi’an walked further and further away before he hopped into the Lu family’s car at the intersection.
He crouched down instantly as waves of pain rippled across his stomach.
Before Fu Jia could enter the room after returning from the yard, Aunt Chen was already awake.
She glared at Fu Jia. “Where have you been?”
Without saying a single word, Fu Jia shook his head roughly.
Aunt Chen’s anger came without warning. She stood up and shrouded Fu Jia in her own shadow. “Are you going to tell me or not?”
Despite the fact that he was trembling with fear, Fu Jia still shook his head vigorously.
Aunt Chen looked around and found a cane near the sofa. She swung it in the air, hoping that the sound of it swishing through the air could wake up Fu Jia’s painful memories. “Tell me quick!”
Refusing to say anything, Fu Jia took a step back.
Taking a deep breath, Aunt Chen gripped the cane tightly and swung it down on him.
Aunt Chen would always hit his buttocks without fail. And that was only the place she would ever hit because she was confident that it wouldn’t leave a trace.
“Where have you been? Did you go and steal Fengfeng’s belongings again?” Aunt Chen was most afraid of this. She didn’t care how much Fu Jia caused a ruckus in the servant room, but he mustn’t run out. When Lin Qing placed him here, he had already sealed Fu Jia’s fate as a servant. And since he was a ‘servant’, then it was all the more important for him to not disturb the masters.
Fu Jia understood what the word ‘steal’ meant. He hated that word with passion.
“I didn’t.” He pleaded. “I didn’t. I never did!”
Aunt Chen grew angrier when she heard him quibble about what happened the last time. “You still refuse to admit it? Do you seriously need me to beat you to death to understand what it means to stay put?”
She lifted her hand, swinging the cane down once more. This time, she aimed for the back because she was too enraged beyond measure.
Fu Jia didn’t dodge. He didn’t even quiver. He glared at Aunt Chen ferociously with reddened eyes.
Aunt Chen was shocked.
Those weren’t the kind of eyes that a child should have. The amount of hatred entrapped in them was so strong that it couldn’t be dispelled. It was as though if he had been given a cutter and that he would kill her without hesitation.
Aunt Chen could only force that word out and she fell silent after that.
Ever since that incident, Fu Jia never shed any tears again. And Aunt Chen never hit him anymore.